THE PITFALLS AND TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL LIGHTING DESIGn.
WHAT MAKES LIGHTING SO CHALLENGING?
Lighting can be an immensely challenging task, even for an experienced interior designer; no matter how big or small the project. There are a few factors that contribute to this, but one of the main reasons is the fact that there is such a broad range of choice and a whole world of suppliers and products out there to choose from. Getting the scale and size right is another factor for address, as is the number of lumens (the light output) – are you concerned with task lighting, mood lighting or something in between for a specific space? Does the lighting need to be warm or cool? If you are looking to install a particularly heavy chandelier or lighting installation (as per the 19 pendant drop seen above) is the ceiling or the floor above adequately re-enforced to carry the load? How can you achieve what you need to with your budget, and the list goes on.
LIGHTING IN NEW BUILD AND CHARACTER PROPERTIES
Wether you are working with a character property, or a new build, your lighting scheme offers a wonderful opportunity to bring the interior up to date. The trick is to pick more contemporary pieces of lighting that will stand the test of time. If you are working with a character property and wish to bring it up to date, then I would advise looking for lighting pieces that are timeless classics with contemporary. You can also mix antique lighting with more contemporary pieces, to superb effect, as long as you get the balance right. If you are at all unsure, call in the professionals, as this can so easily go the wrong way.
TOP THREE TIPS FOR CHOOSING LIGHTING FOR YOUR SCHEME
- Scale – it’s better for a piece of lighting to be a little too big for the space over it being small and apologetic. I don’t mean that the drop can be compromised (that’s never an option), I mean that it is fine for character lighting to be a little over sized. You want character lighting to make a significant statement. It needs to be bold. That said, consider scale overall, and make sure it works with the rest of the scheme.
- Know what part you want the lighting to play in a scheme. Are you looking for it to take centre stage in the same way that a piece of sculpture would? After all, lighting is three dimensional. Or, is lighting playing a supporting role in the overall scheme? If you have this clear in your mind it will make choosing the lighting so much easier.
- Balance your lighting throughout. Don’t make the mistake of considering each room in isolation. Decide which rooms require show-stopper lighting solutions, and which require more functional solutions. If your entrance Hall is double or triple volume you might like to consider a lighting installation that becomes something of a work of art in the space. This could be a multiple drop pendant installation from Curiousa Studios in a glorious selection of coloured glass shade shapes (as seen in the image above). If, however, you have a more modest Entrance Hall, perhaps the solution needs to be more functional giving way to the show stopper piece at the end of the hallway, which might open out into a light airy kitchen which can take a larger piece. Whatever your layout, think of the lighting throughout your home as a piece of music – it should work in harmony, so some pieces will have more ‘voice’ than others.
Working with this appreciation; it’s useful, perhaps, to break it down a little further. There are basically three types of lighting.
THE THREE TYPES OF LIGHTING
FUNCTIONAL TASK LIGHTING:
These are your down-lights throughout, your wall washers, your up-lighters and your led strip lights. This lighting is not supposed to be noticed at all, apart from the fact that when it is on it creates a wonderful sense of warmth and well-being.
FUNCTIONAL CHARACTER LIGHTING:
This lighting adds character, but it’s not the show stopper. It simply contributes to the character of the home. These should be timeless classics that will work well within your home for years to come. A very good example of this is Holloway of Ludlows Old School Electric lighting range of pendants and wall lights. Many of these are also IP rated, which means that bathroom lighting design just got a whole lot easier. This really is an immensely versatile range of lighting, perfect for character make-overs and new builds alike. Another good example of this is from Vaughan Designs. See how we have used their Upton Wall light in the image below. On either side of the bed in this bedroom, we have used their Bordon Swing Arm Reading Wall light, see in the second image below. These are both excellent examples of functional character lighting.
CHARACTER STATEMENT LIGHTING:
Traditionally this would have been the grand chandelier, taking centre stage in the Drawing Room or over the Dining Room table. These crystal beauties, still have relevance, depending on the scheme, but this whole area of lighting has become a treasure trove of opportunity with so much more choice. With a sea of choice before you it’s important to get the tone right, so make that your focus – ensure that your character statement lighting piece balances with the rest of the scheme. You can introduce a highly contemporary light fitting to a classical inspired surround as long as you make sure that the contemporary pieces share the same language. One of my favourite contemporary pieces is from a company called Ochre. Below you can see how we have used their Arctic Pear chandelier in a formal Sitting Room which is primarily traditional in overtone, but the Arctic Pear helps to bring it beautifully up to date. It’s available in different sizes so you can get the scale right no matter what the size of your space.
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON LIGHTING DESIGN
As an Interior Designer, I have come to appreciate that lighting is one of the most important aspects of my job. If you are undertaking a home make-over or are about to take on a new build project, then make sure you make time for it, because it’s easy to get wrong if you don’t and so worth the effort if you do. Of course, if you are looking for help we would simply love to help you and with 17 years of experience in helping our clients achieve their dream homes, we would be well placed to. We have a wealth of experience in delivering luxury interiors for our clients character property renovations and new build properties alike. Our projects tend to focus on London and Surrey, where we have recently delivered projects in Chelsea, Putney, Barnes, Teddington, Hampton, Esher, the Crown Estate in Oxshott and Burwood Park in Walton-on-Thames, to name a few.